Business booming for Culverden post-quake

Culverden has always been a pitstop town for weary travellers but never before has the main street been so busy.

Shops and cafes in the small North-Canterbury town are struggling to keep up with demand.

State Highway 1 north of Kaikōura was closed after November's 7.8 magnitude earthquake so holiday traffic heading to the upper South Island has been diverted through Culverden.

"I came up this way six months ago and it was nice and quiet - now every man and his dog's coming through here," truck driver Jonathon Grueber says.

There's a constant flow of cars filled with customers eager for a toilet stop and a snack.

"The queue for the bathroom is up the road and there's just cars everywhere," one tourist said.

"Very surprised we have not seen it this busy before," said another.

With the road north of Kaikōura closed, the town of around 500 people has become a hot spot on the main route to the Upper South Island.

Leaving businesses, like the Red Post Cafe, run off their feet.

"Since we re-opened again on the 27th it's just been crazy like we are probably 50-60 percent up on what we would normally be doing this time of the year," owner Trent Allison says.

While business is booming in Culverden it's quite the opposite in Cheviot.

The once popular stop on the coastal route to Kaikōura is eerily quiet during peak holiday season.

"We're pretty pleased with what we are getting - it's not what we would normally get but we are very grateful to have what we have," Cheviot Tea Rooms owner Lynn Turner says.

And with a lot of work still needing to be done clearing State Highway 1 - while it'll be tough going for Cheviot, it's looking like business in Culverden won't be slowing down any time soon.

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